eveningtimes.co.uk – IT’S seven years since Simon Baker debuted as TV’s Patrick Jane, the fraudulent – and successful – psychic who uses his skills to help the California Bureau of Investigation solve murders.
But now the series is coming to a close, and the 45-year-old actor admits it’s the right time.
The dynamic of the series changed, he notes, after his character’s quest for revenge – against the serial killer who murdered his wife and daughter – was concluded last season.
“That’s all he was living for,” says the Australian star, who had roles in Aussie soaps Home And Away and Heartbreak High before moving to the US.
“Once he catches the bad guy and exercises revenge, what has he got?”
Instead, The Mentalist’s seventh and final season will delve into Jane and FBI agent Teresa Lisbon’s much-anticipated relationship.
“We’re now going to shift the dynamic of the show, to the perspective of two adults who work together,” explains Baker.
“Can they succeed in having a relationship at the same time, or are they too selfish, too self-destructive?”
After being colleagues for almost a decade, he admits the change in their fictional relationship took a bit of adjusting to.
“It’s a little bit like kissing my sister,” confesses Baker, who’s been nominated for two Golden Globes during his career; in 2002 for US TV series The Guardian, based on a Pittsburgh law firm, and later for The Mentalist.
The ending of the show might already have been dictated, but the actor, who has three children with his wife, Australian actress Rebecca Rigg, confesses he was hoping for a “slightly different” finale.
“I think the most tragic endings are more romantic in a way. I also think about the character that I signed on to play,” he adds. “He was a tragic character from the beginning, and to me, it only ever felt right that there was sort of a tragic ending to it.”
In real life, Baker has been happily married to Rigg since 1998.
“It was pretty crazy, in that I was as young as I was,” says the actor, who was 29 when the couple tied the knot. “It’s not that young, but I was unemployed and didn’t have a pot to p**s in! But you’ve got to take risks.”
Despite spending most of his career on the small screen – though millions will also recognise him from 2006 movie The Devil Wears Prada – The Mentalist star admits he believes that TV series can sometimes patronise audiences.
“The audience should be treated with a certain level of intelligence, and I get very upset when we talk down to them. It annoys me,” he reveals.
“The audience is savvy, they know the characters, they’re going to get those leaps, and even if they don’t, they’ll enjoy the speculation about it. We don’t need to force-feed them.”
Baker, who was presented with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2013, doesn’t deny that his starring role in The Mentalist has taken a toll on his private life.
“Everyone misses privacy, whether you’re in the public eye or not. But there are a lot of positive things that are exchanged. I’ve had a fantastic experience,” he adds.
He’s excited about enjoying some downtime with his nearest and dearest, now that filming’s over.
“I’m looking forward to enjoying the simple things socially, actually reconnecting with friends and family that I’ve been a little bit out of the loop with for the last seven years.
“I’d love to be the assistant coach of my kids’ soccer team, and actually be able to go to practices, or just go camping,” adds Baker, who, as Patrick Jane, reportedly became one of the highest paid actors in TV.
But he doesn’t want to lose momentum either, and is keen to further the producing and directing skills he also honed on the series.
“I like the idea of developing and producing something from the beginning, maybe a mini-series. I’m interested in finding material to do that with, and also partnering up with the right people.”
As for the keepsake he’ll take from his memorable time on The Mentalist, that’s easy…
“I might take a suit or two. They’re made for me and have my name on them,” says Baker. “I’ll keep them for my sons.”
l The final series of The Mentalist begins on Channel 5 on Thursday, February 12.
Thanks to Luciana I have been able to add high quality scans of Simon who is featured in this months Madame Figaro to the gallery. Hoping to find outtakes of the shoot that accompanied this article soon. Enjoy!
Magazines/Scans > Scans from 2014 > Madame Figaro – (June 7th)
My apologies for not mentioning this earlier … I feel terrible for missing it! Simon was a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show today (January 23rd). Simon was on hand to help Ellen get ready for her trip Down Under with a game all about Australian trivia! I will try to get my hands on the full interview for your viewing pleasures! In the meantime, take a look at the fun clip below:
Simon’s gonna be on Ellen today. Make sure you check your local listings for times! I’ll try to have video and screencaptures up as soon as I can.
The Mentalist star Simon Baker has suggested that his character Patrick Jane is growing darker.
Baker told Entertainment Weekly that the genius crime-fighter is on an “interesting journey”.
“It feels to me a little bit that, here’s a guy who is likable and empathetic,” he said. “And he’s slowly turning to the dark side and [becoming] maybe less empathetic.”
The Australian star admitted that he wants to keep reinventing the Jane character as the fourth season of The Mentalist continues.
“It’s always difficult when you’re on a show that goes for more than a year or a couple of years,” he explained. “I’m always looking for things that are interesting and different that I can exploit within the character.”
He added: “If they’re able to take him into these different paths and avenues, it makes it more refreshing for me.”
Baker revealed in October that he is contracted up to a potential seventh season of the CBS drama.
“We are in our fourth year, but I think my character is unlike most characters on TV,” he said. “If I put my mind to it, I can still make the character entertaining for me to play. I can still challenge myself a little bit.”
The Mentalist continues on Thursdays at 10/9c on CBS. The show will return to Channel 5 in the UK in February.